Campers Need To Be Aware Of Wildlife


Last week’s bear encounter at Ponderosa Campground highlights why every camper needs to inform themselves about safe camping in bear country.

Last week’s bear encounter at Ponderosa Campground highlights why every camper needs to inform themselves about safe camping in bear country. |

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The big news this week is the “missing” bear. This big, bad bear attacked a lady inside her tent at the Ponderosa Campground recently and he is still at large. Arizona Game and Fish personnel have closed that campground along with the Bear Flat campground on the 405 Road and extended the closure into the Hellsgate Wilderness area. For more current information, contact the Payson Ranger Station at (928) 474-7900 or the Arizona Game and Fish Headquarters at 800-970-2327. Many campers do not give a thought about the wild creatures that inhabit our forests and a “bear alert” is very serious. Every camper needs to inform themselves about safe camping in bear country.

Not only do we have to be on the alert for bears, but there are coyotes roaming around Tonto Village. One was spotted just across the street from my home this past weekend, and they have also been spotted by patrons of the Double D Restaurant and saloon. They are looking for easy prey and that could be your small dogs or cats.

Another theory is that the cattle that are grazing in our vicinity have been calving and could have given birth recently. The calves would be easy targets.

In other words, be very aware of the creatures that could be around and use caution and some good sense.

Hellsgate Fire Department

There are five new firefighters in the Hellsgate Fire Department: Andy Brand, Michael Benjamin, Douglas Eckhardt and Tanya Olson have been added to the roster for Station 21 in Star Valley. Mathew McKindley will be at Station 22 in Tonto Village. Congratulations to the new firefighters.

The firewise grant is now available for communities within the Hellsgate District. The amount is now up to $500 per acre. Application forms can be picked up at the administration office at Station 21 in Star Valley. For details, contact Karen at (928) 474-3835.

There has been an unfortunate delay in the brush pickup due to equipment failure. At this writing, the time of the delay is not known. The resumption of the brush pickup will be announced in this column.

The Hellsgate Fire Board will present certificates of service at their next meeting. Certificates will be awarded to Martha Bartlett for 25 years and to Chief Gary Hatch for 30 years. Wow! That is amazing. The Hellsgate family is very proud of them for their dedication and loyalty to the fire department.

The Fireflies auxiliary will be holding its monthly meeting on Monday, June 11 at the Tonto Village fire station. The meeting will start at 10 a.m. Treasurer Linda Stailey will be giving her financial report of the Memorial Weekend Breakfast.

The Fireflies will be at the Bashas’ Food Festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 9. They will be promoting the cookbook, “Fireflies Can Cook,” with advance sales, selling raffle tickets for the Husqvarna 20-inch chain saw and handmade quilt, and Hellsgate T-shirts. Help is still needed , so call Janet at (928) 478-9935 if any of the Fireflies can man the booth for a few hours.

Birthdays, etc.

Vicki Grootegoed will celebrate her birthday on June 12. Vicki has been a great help to the Fireflies by chairing the cookbook committee. She has done a wonderful job of compiling hundreds of recipes. Thank you Vicki for your invaluable help.

Bill Dupke will add another candle to his birthday cake on June 14. Bill is a Hellsgate firefighter and he is with Station 23 at Mead Ranch. Bill has always been a great help to the Fireflies by bringing down tables and chairs from the Mead Ranch station and staying to help set up and break down when the fund-raisers are over. Thank you Bill and have a great birthday.

Bob and Penny Wells will celebrate their anniversary on June 14. They also have been an invaluable help with their support and contribution to the Fireflies. Happy anniversary to you both.

Double D doings

There was only one pool tournament this past week on Tuesday evening. The winners were Payge Ferierra and Michael Reese. Come on pool players, chalk up those pool sticks and get down to the Double D on Tuesdays and Sunday afternoons.

Flag Day is on June 14. Please fly the colors proudly. There is not any other nation like the United States of America. Be proud and fly Old Glory.

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